Harley Quinn, Poison Ivy, and Catwoman having a very awkward lunch.
Harley Quinn, Poison Ivy, and Catwoman having a very awkward lunch.
Image: DC Universe

Harley Quinn’s season two premiere opened with a dramatic turn of events plucked right out of DC Comics’ massive Batman: No Man’s Land. That event had the U.S. government evacuating the city, destroying all of the bridges connecting it to the rest of the country, and leaving it to be taken over by the whole of Batman’s rogues’ gallery. As seen in the season one finale, in Harley Quinn’s telling of the story, it’s an act of terrorism by the Joker (and the subsequent earthquake caused by it) which leads to the crisis in Gotham. 

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With Batman missing from the scene, it isn’t long before villains like the Riddler, Mr. Freeze, and Two-Face divide the city up and turn its various neighborhoods into pseudo-kingdoms. Though Harley Quinn’s obviously drawing on No Man’s Land, co-showrunner Patrick Schumacker was careful to explain in a recent phone interview with io9 that we shouldn’t expect the entire season to be a one-to-one adaptation.

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Rather, this season is trying to switch up its narrative formula and use beats from No Man’s Land in order to bring us deeper into Gotham’s underbelly so as to showcase a growing cast of characters.

No Man’s Land was such an event in the print world, and different issues approached the story from so many characters’ points of view, so it felt like a natural fit for us,” Schumaker told io9. “Beyond the sort of set up that is No Man’s Land-inspired, we don’t really go too deep into that storyline as it was originally presented in the book. It was more of a vehicle that allowed us to open season two with Gotham being trashier, fractured, and having different factions of Batman’s villains to break the city up.”

Schumacker also explained that season two’s villain-of-the-week style is by design and meant to give the show a means of delving deeper into Harley’s evolution as she sets out on a mission to exact her personal revenge against her peers who’ve tried to kill her in the past.

“So episode two focuses on the Riddler and episode three focuses on Catwoman even though she’s more of an ally to Harley and Ivy. The fourth episode focuses on Mr. Freeze and the sixth I think is Bane and Two-Faced centric,” he explained. “It’s a more episodic approach even though we are building up to something larger and this No Man’s Land thread continues as different heroes show up trying to get the city reincorporated back into the United States.”

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Harley Quinn’s second season is now streaming weekly on DC Universe.

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For more, make sure you’re following us on our Instagram @io9dotcom.

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io9 Culture Critic and Staff Writer. Cyclops was right.

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